MPBL: Gabo rallies as Nueva Ecija Winds Game 1

Jan 5, 2023

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MANILA, Philippines – January 2023 will be fired up as recent results set ablaze the entry of the MPBL into the year. At the jam-packed Nueva Ecija Coliseum in Palayan City on Friday night, the Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards upset the Zamboanga Family’s Brand Sardines, 81-75, in the opening game of their OKbet-MPBL (Maharika Pilipinas Basketball League) 4th Season Presented by Xtreme. When it meant the most, Hesed Gabo scored the winning basket. 

The star point guard poured in points with only 47 seconds left, including a banked dagger triple that raised the score to 76-67. 

With 18 of his 22 total points coming in the final 10 minutes, former Mapua-Cardinal Gabo finished with six rebounds, six assists, and 22 points overall. This angered the Zamboanguenos, who fought the Rice Vanguards courageously from the beginning but finally fell short.

Nueva Ecija went on a 9-1 run to conclude the third quarter, giving them a 56-48 lead. 

The score was 55-56 as Zamboanga responded with a seven-point bomb from Jaycee Marcelino and Jhapz Bautista. 

At 60, Zamboanga tied the game, but Bryon Villarias’ triple and Gabo’s two sacrifice runs decided the outcome. 

Villarias also shone with 19 points, while Mabulac contributed 14 points and 5 rebounds before fouling out with 1:25 left in the game. With 11 points and 5 rebounds, McAloney also made a contribution. 

Mabulac was given the ball he used to score the key points as he became the 13th player in the MPBL to reach 1,000 points by former PBA star and current Commissioner Duremdes.

Chris Dumapig had 15 points and six rebounds to lead Zamboanga. Jayvee Marcelino contributed 11 points, Marcelino and Jhapz Bautista both scored 12 points. 

Zamboanga won the first half by a slim margin of 30-29, but Nueva Ecija took the third quarter by a score of 56-48 thanks to a 9-1 run. 

In Game 2 on Monday at the same location, Nueva Ecija will try to defeat Zamboanga.

Meanwhile, more to look forward to is that the MPBL’s top rookie is Kyt Jimenez, and Jaycee Marcelino is in charge of the Mythical Five. 

Prior to Game 2 of the National Finals between the Zamboanga Family’s Brand Sardines and the Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards on Monday night at the Nueva Ecija Coliseum in Palayan City, outstanding players from the OKBet-MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) 4th Season Presented by Xtreme were honored. 

Judel Fuentes of the San Juan Knights, Jaycee Marcelino of the Zamboanga Family’s Brand Sardines, Hesed Gabo, Will McAloney of the Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards, and Cedric Ablaza of the Batangas City Embassy Chill were chosen as members of the Mythical Team. 

Each of these players received P10,000 courtesy of Ryan David Roxas of David Roxas Construction.

The MPBL’s fourth season MVP, who will represent the Mythical Team, will be revealed during Game 3 of the National Finals on December 9 at the Mayor Vitaliano Agan Coliseum in Zamboanga City. 

Other notable winners this season include Kyt Jimenez of the Sarangani Marlins, who won Rookie of the Year, Mark Yee of Bacolod Bingo Plus, who won Defensive Player of the Year, Archie Concepcion of the Pampanga Giant Lanterns, who won Homegrown Player of the Year, and Jay-R Taganas of Nueva Ecija, who won Sportsmanship. 

Jimenez will also spend the night in Buracai de Laiya in addition to collecting P15,000 from Robert Cay, who designated his son Lester to present the reward.

Through Bernard Fernandez, Yee will receive P5,000 from the MPBL and a year’s supply of DFence Vitamin C from Cnf Pharmaceutical Products. Pound For Pound Fitness gave Taganas P15,000 in donation. 

Owner of the Nueva Ecija team Bong Cuevas received the Lucio Tan Jr. MPBL’s Executive of the Year. 

MPBL Commissioner Kenneth Duremdes presented the Mythical Team players and Cuevas with their individual awards. 

Head of Operations Emmer Oreta presented the award to Concepcion, League Executive Joe Ramos gave it to Jimenez, and Chief of Security Rudy Distrito gave it to Taganas. 

In Game 1 of the best-of-five Finals on December 2, also at the Nueva Ecija Coliseum, the North division champion Rice Vanguards defeated the South division champion Zamboanguenos, 81-75.

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